If you have ever walked through an old cemetery, you may have enjoyed looking at the old headstones and grave markers and wondering about the people they commemorate. These lasting monuments to the lives of our forebears have often withstood centuries of wind and rain, and when it comes to the markers for yourself or your loved ones, you probably expect similar durability. But what makes some grave markers stand the test of time while others crumble?
Choosing Durable Materials
Most modern grave markers are made of either granite or bronze, and some cemeteries will only accept markers or headstones that use those materials. Granite is a hard igneous rock that is both relatively abundant and easy to work with, making it an understandably popular choice for anyone with a budget in mind. Furthermore, granite naturally comes in a variety of colors and patterns, meaning it offers more customization options. Bronze, on the other hand, is polished and elegant, though it may eventually develop a green tint, and is often preferred for grave markers. Formerly popular materials, such as marble or sandstone, are no longer recommended due to their propensity to fade and erode over time.
Deciding Between a Grave Marker or a Headstone
Depending on your cemetery of choice, you may not be able to pick between a headstone or a grave marker for landscaping reasons. If you do have the option, however, both have their merits and drawbacks. Headstones are more prominent, easier to find and have more space for inscriptions, but they are also more exposed and may erode faster as a result. Grave markers can get lost in the grass without adequate mowing, but they are also sheltered from the wind and rain.
Opting for Additional Features
Besides deciding between the materials and design of your grave marker, you will also need to consider whether you want any additional features, like a vase to hold flowers. This makes it easier to decorate a grave and tidy up later. Other popular selections include photographs of your loved one surrounded by family. If you want to commemorate your loved one in style, you might also choose to commission a small statue or similar marker that better captures his or her personality.
Maintaining a Grave Marker
After you have picked and installed your loved one's grave marker, there are steps you can take to ensure that it lasts as long as possible. Visit the grave site regularly to clean it off and pull up any weeds that have sprouted. If you chose a granite marker, simply washing it down with a wet cloth may be enough to preserve it for decades. Bronze requires a little more upkeep to prevent tarnishing, though many families also enjoy the appearance of aged bronze. No matter how you decide to mark the resting place of your loved one, with the right knowledge and preparation, you can rest assured that the site will endure for decades or even centuries to come. Contact a marker company, like Palmer Bros Granite Co, for more help.
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